STIB - A Modernised Storage System

System Solutions Offers A Modernised Storage System To STIB

Just a few months after his arrival at the head of STIB's information systems, Pierre-André Rulmont faced a major computing failure strongly impacting the operation of the bus, tram and metro networks.

Faced with ageing infrastructure and storage, a huge modernisation project was started, with HP Enterprise as constructor and Systems Solutions as storage integrator. Since then the ultra-critical IS has no longer been faulty… Marc Husquinet

Early in 2015 then, the STIB decided to proceed with the complete modernisation of its datacenter environments operated totally internally.

"Note that for us IT is particularly critical because it guarantees the security of the service, for customers, personnel and the equipment", remarks Pierre-André Rulmont, Information Systems VP.


Video images

As part of a public contract, the STIB first qualified the profile of the bidders before proceeding to bid selection based essentially on availability criteria (the price only counted for 40%, against 60% for the technical functions as well as the levels of the SLA). "The whole design was produced by System Solutions and HPE which identified the weak points and consequently defined the rules of best practice to ensure maximum availability, after which the architecture was validated and the operational processes were set up." In the first place, storage concerned internal operational needs (Office, SAP, etc.) before being extended to images from the video cameras.

The choice of storage platform concerned the Flash 3PAR StoreServ solution from HPE. "Our product provides particularly easy management of storage and offers very high availability, even in the case of infrastructure maintenance, with a high compression rate of high quality images", says Luc Opdebeeck, managing director Northern Europe of HPE. Note that the STIB network currently has 4,000 cameras – and potentially up to 15,000 eventually, 80% of which are digitised – and that data is stored for 30 days. "Don't forget that these images are regularly required by the security forces", says Pierre-André Rulmont.

As a long-term partner of the STIB, the System Solutions integrator undertook the complete design of the solution as well as project management in partnership with HPE and the customer. "Our certification as Gold Partner of HPE for storage demonstrates our skill and professionalism", says Jean-Paul de Cannière, general manager of System Solutions Belgium, who commends the stability and continuity of the service, whereas the infrastructure of the STIB is extremely complex and highly stressed.

 

GOAL
To resolve a situation like that of 2014 when a computing failure severely impacted the operation of the STIB's transport networks.


People first

In technical terms, the storage infrastructure installed is thus based on 100% Flash 3PAR systems from HPE capable of offering initially 300 TB of storage, with possible extension up to 1 PB, in addition to 1 PB coming from the video camera images. Today this data is handled by applications hosted on 1,500 virtualised servers distributed in two redundant company datacenters. It should also be noted that capacities increase by several hundred TB per year.

"I am particularly satisfied with the competence of the teams of our two partners, and with their responsiveness and professionalism", again adds the CIO of the STIB which demands continuity and stability of the service. "The speed and quality of the response in the event of a problem are essential, as well as the proximity of the customer. It's when a problem arises that we can really make the difference by being extremely responsive", adds Luc Opdebeeck who also highlights the support given to System Solutions as integrator of the project.

"We are in a partner rather than customer/supplier relationship thanks to the dynamism and technical competence of the teams", confirms Jean-Paul de Cannière, who stresses the quality of the teams internal to the STIB, far from the image of a fusty public service. And Luc Opdebeeck again reveals that HPE has within a year become the leading company on the storage market in Belgium, a position further reinforced by the acquisition in March 2017 of Nimble Storage, specialist of mid-range Flash storage.

 

SOLUTION
A modernised storage system, privileging SLAs and availability.


Cloud?

And if today, the STIB still uses its internal storage – "We currently use very little cloud", notes Pierre-André Rulmont –both HPE and System Solutions stand ready to support their customers in planning migration to the cloud. "We could envisage the cloud for certain types of applications, says the CIO. But the cloud at 100% is unthinkable for us."

"We have a foot in both technologies, on-site and the cloud. Now, we can assist any customer with their cloud project, especially thanks to our level IV datacenters. Moreover last year we were voted Cloud Provider of the Year in Luxembourg", says the CEO of System Solutions. While HPE insists on its strategy of hybrid cloud, of edge empowerment to improve the user experience as well as on-demand: on-demand storage and backup capacity, payment according to actual use of the resources, data analytics on-demand, etc.

Particularly as capacities are expected to explode in the coming years, with the concepts of 'Mobility-as-a-Service' especially when the STIB intends to position itself as a coordinator of mobility services thanks to better knowledge of customers and their needs, not forgetting video analytics, the arrival of driverless metro trains (where the role of cameras will become even more critical), geolocation of vehicles, etc.

 

LESSONS
More flexibility, especially for storage. Each year, storage capacity increases and accelerates with the deployment of new technologies.


Source : DataNews